Californian Beth Allen has been playing solid golf on the Ladies European Tour for the last eight years and has not finished outside the top 25 on the ranking since 2010. However, last year marked a turning point when she broke into the winner’s circle with a memorable victory in the ISPS HANDA Ladies European Masters at Buckinghamshire Golf Club. She has since gone from strength to strength, with three top 10 finishes so far in 2016. A tie for fourth in the ISPS HANDA Women’s Australian Open was followed by third at the Buick Championship and tied third at the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open. Another notable performance was a tie for 14th at the Ricoh Women’s British Open and she continues to lead the LET Order of Merit. We caught up with Beth ahead of her “LEM” title defence, albeit at a new venue, Golf Club Hubbelrath in Düsseldorf.
Beth… defending champion at the ISPS HANDA Ladies European Masters at a new venue, Golf Club Hubbelrath in Düsseldorf. Do you feel ready to do the double?
I am certainly up for the challenge of defending at a new venue and looking forward to visiting Dusseldorf as I have never been there. I have been preparing the last three weeks and I feel ready to try and get the double!
It looks as though you’ve had a fun few weeks, learning to drive, watching Amy Schumer live and being at The Fringe in Edinburgh. What’s been the highlight of your summer so far?
I have had a great summer! Of course July was really busy with the wedding, the US Open, the AAM Ladies Scottish Open and the Ricoh Women’s British Open so I welcomed some time off this August to enjoy the Scottish sunshine! I love living in Edinburgh and in August it’s particularly great with the Fringe Festival on. I enjoyed a few days out on the town watching some comedy and exploring different gin gardens! I have finally started the process of getting my driving license in the UK and so I’ve been practising. It’s been nerve wracking but I’m getting the hang of it! I’m so looking forward to next year when I have my license and won’t need to get the bus and train to practice! I think this month, the highlight has been seeing Amy Schumer live at The Edinburgh Playhouse. I have been dying to go to the Playhouse and to see her there was awesome.
You are learning to drive and Germany is renowned for fast cars. Might we see you at the wheel on the autobahns?
There is no way I’ll be driving on the Autobahn! I am so scared to drive fast. I am not a car person at all so that sort of thing doesn’t excite me. However, my dream car would probably be something really sensible with my own personal driver!
You’ve played in six German Opens. What do you love most about Germany?
Wow, I actually can’t believe I’ve played six German Opens! I love playing in Germany. We had great crowds in Dachau and every year the event was so well run. I am looking forward to visiting a new city in Germany and seeing what Düsseldorf has to offer. I’ve heard great things from Caroline Masson about it!
As a native Californian, what do you love most about playing on the Ladies European Tour?
Whenever I tell someone that I’m from California but I now live in Edinburgh they look at me like I’m crazy but I love living abroad and playing on the LET. Travelling is a huge perk of our job. I feel so lucky to have been so many places around the world doing what I love. I have of course made a lot of friends along the way in Europe as well which is another reason why I enjoy the LET so much.
Last year, you won for the first time at the Buckinghamshire. What did it mean to you and how did it alter your mentality?
Winning at The Buckinghamshire meant so much to me for so many reasons. Deep down I knew I could do it but after 11 years on tour I started to wonder if my time would ever come! When it finally did, it was the best feeling ever. I never wanted that Sunday to end. Mentally, winning the LEM gave me a lot of confidence and relief in a way. People say the first win is the most difficult so now that I’ve got one under my belt hopefully there will be many more to come!
What is your mind set and focus heading into the LEM week?
My mind set going into the LEM is to treat it like any other event. Of course it is a special event to me but I’m not going to get caught up in defending. I am just going to do my best like I do every week and hopefully that will produce another win!
You changed your coach and caddie 12 months ago. How significant were those changes in terms of your sensational progress this year?
Ian Rae has helped me over the past few years when I struggling and couldn’t get back to California to see my coach Johnny Gonzales. Finally last year I decided to see Ian full time as I am spending all of my time in Scotland now. Ian hasn’t changed much about my golf swing but has helped me tidy up various aspects of my golf. He’s been an awesome addition to the team around me which includes my mental/putting coach of nine years Dr. Joseph Parent and of course my caddie, mentor and friend Sophie Gustafson. Sophie and I have had a lot of success over the last year and she has been a great person to have on my bag. I learn from her and I laugh with her. There is no caddie that I could trust more than Sophie as she is an outstanding player who draws from her experiences on the course and uses them to help me. You really can’t get much better than that so I am so lucky to have her. Both Sophie and Ian have been instrumental in my progress this year.
Will Sophie Gustafson caddie again when you defend in Germany and if so, how has your relationship developed since your success last year?
Sophie will be caddying for me in Germany, Evian and Spain. In the Middle East as well so really looking forward to that. I think since out first event last year at the LEM our player caddie relationship has evolved. She knows my tendencies on the course, she knows what types of shots I like to hit and which shots I’m capable of hitting. It’s always tough in the beginning with a new caddie figuring out these things but now that we have done over 20 events together we have a good routine.
What are your goals for the remainder of the 2016 season and beyond in terms of your career as a professional golfer?
My goal for the rest of the season is to keep doing the best I can and stay true to myself. Of course I want to win the Order of Merit but to give myself the best chance to achieve that, I need to take one event on at time, one round at a time, one shot at a time.
What would it mean to you to be the first American to win the Order of Merit in the 38-year history of the Ladies European Tour?
I haven’t really given the fact that an American has never won the LET Order of Merit much thought. I think it would be really cool to be a part of the history of the LET as it’s a great tour and means a lot to me. It would really just be surreal in general if I won it. Over the last five years I have really found a balance that allows me to play good golf and enjoy myself. I used to think that wasn’t allowed if you wanted to be the best but if I won the Order of Merit it would certainly prove that there isn’t one correct way to be a successful professional golfer.
The ISPS HANDA Ladies European Masters tees off on Thursday 8th September at Golf Club Hubbelrath in Düsseldorf, Germany.